tv PBS News Hour PBS December 7, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
supreme court which agreed today to take up the issue of gay marriage. margaret warner looks at what's at stake with marcia coyle of "the national law journal." >> brown: hari sreenivasan reports on the threat to the shellfish industry from coast to coast, as ocean temperatures rise and the waters are more acidic. >> this is a very dramatic change that has not been seen in the worlds oceans for more than 50 million years. >> woodruff: mark shields and david brooks analyze the week's news. >> brown: and gwen ifill sits down with michael beschloss, whose recent foray into the twitter-verse has opened up a new way to view history in the digital age. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: more people found work in november and more people stopped looking for work. as a result, the number of new jobs came in better than expected today and the rate of unemployment was the lowest since 2008. "newshour" economics correspondent paul solman begins our coverage. >> reporter: washington brightened yesterday when the annual switch was flipped; the white house christmas tree,
relit. and this morning, more holiday cheer, it seemed, in the form of the monthly jobs numbers. 146,000 new jobs were created last month, according to the survey of employers; unemployment dropped again, to 7.7%, according to the survey of households. both numbers better than expected in the wake of hurricane sandy and fiscal cliff anxiety. >> so it looks like sandy will not affect the numbers even after revisions. >> reporter: georgetown's harry holzer, former chief economist for the labor department. >> in terms of the fiscal cliff, so far we are not seeing any big impact. >> reporter: not even an impact on retail which, for all the talk of online supplanting bricks-and-mortar buying, added 53,000 jobs last month-- much of it holiday hiring, no doubt-- but a healthy 140,000 overall increase in the past three months. not all the new numbers were festive, however.
construction shed 20,000 jobs, though perhaps influenced by sandy. manufacturing dropped 7,000. grinchier still, job growth in september and october was revised down by 49,000 jobs. and for all the talk of a lower unemployment rate, its explanation seemed to be that several hundred thousand more americans stopped looking for work in november and were counted out of the labor force. again, economist holtzer. >> this month's change was driven completely by the fact some people stopped looking. last month's drop in unemployment really was driven by people becoming employed. the fact the unemployment rate has dropped from over 10% over the last two or three years part of that is real job gaining by some people and part of that is people stopping looking for work. >> reporter: no wonder, then, that the number of unemployed still sat at 12 million people
as december dawned 40% of whom have been jobless for 27 weeks or longer. a serious problem, says holzer. >> perhaps one of the most serious problems and that has been true for years now through this downturn. very consistently, 40 to 50% of all the unemployed are long term unemployed. >> reporter: and those unemployed are especially vulnerable this time of year, this year in particular as the fiscal cliff beckons. for many of the unemployed, the cliff is a clear and present danger. unless congress and the president act before the times square ball drops, many on unemployment insurance will be left to fend for themselves. that's because federal extensions of those benefits, currently up to 47 additional weeks in some states would suddenly expire. that would make for an exceptionally unhappy holiday for an estimated two million unemployed americans.
>> brown: we take a closer look now at the standoff and stakes involving unemployment benefits. judith conti is the federal advocacy coordinator for the national employment law project, a workers' rights group. and bill beech heads the center for data analysis at the heritage foundation, a conservative think tank. did welcome to both of you. >> thank you. >> pick up first judy conti on what we just heard, why is the amount of long-term unemployment so stubbornly high? >> what's happening now is we're starting to see job creation. we're starting to see less people being laid off and people laid off getting their jobs back more quickly but those without have been out of work for a while are still facing the exact same barriers they face throughout the entire rekoferm. not the least of which is a sentiment among employers it that if you've been out of work for that long there must be something wrong with you. and therefore the people are more recently unemployed or are currently employed are more attractive candidates. >> does that sound right now it sort of feeds on itself i
think we need to recognize this is the most severe, this was the slowest recovery. here is the point of that. you have millions of people whose job skill its are simply not going to bring them back to the market. it play be easier for them to drop out than to stay in. won people drop out of the labor force they slow the economy. their productivity is gone, their contributions are no longer there, so this is a different situation we're facing today than we faced i really think since the end of the world war ii. >> brown: before the implication of the fiscal cliff,xplain it because different states have different impact. >> under normal economic times this say program that is governed by state law and administered by the state. and states pay up to 26 weeks of benefits, six months for people who lost jobs through no fault of their own. but if bad economic times historically congress has authorized additional levels
of benefits. this time it is a program called the emergency unemployment compensation system. and there are four different tiers depending on how bad your state unemployment rate is every state gets 14 weeks. nine states get up to 47 a decisional weeks. and the rest are in betweenment but you have to be over 9% to get that additional 47 weeks. >> brown: so it is this program that is now caught up in the fiscal cliff negotiations. >> right. and it's unique this time around. this particular end of the month is a clear-cuttoff time. we have-- . >> brown: in the past it was phased out. >> right. and as harry said in your piece pointed out this is really the worst time of the year for this to happen. so what we need to do now is not just say oh let's just extend them. i think everyone thinks something like that has to happen. and it needs to be for a period of time that will be humane for the millions of people unemployed. we still have a very high unemployment rate. i think it's time now to do
some experiments. how do we combine the extensions with mandatory training to make sure that people are skilled up when they reenter the labor force and don't take this bad decision, in my view, of simply dropping out bdz why do you think we need to do those experiments now rather than just continue or extend. >> well, this is the time to do it. congress is focused on extension. let's focus them also on changing the program subtlyment i think maybe judy and i may agree that some experiment kos happen. we're talking experiments tox see whether or not you could say all right, you want to get an extension. we'll give you the extension if you will participate in this is a on-line training program. learn to type. change your skill set. you really have to do something like that because they can't find work because their skills have been usurped they've been out so long. >> before i ask, who pays for that. >> it will be paid by the private sector, by the public sector. there are ways to structure this. you are talking 30 billion anyway. and you know, we need to understand, the key to the
economy is the labor force. it isn't the capital structure. that comes second. let's tend to it closely. >> what do you think about an experiment leak that, requiring training in exchange for extending benefits with. >> there are certainly long-term worker was could benefit from training. unfortunately we've seen over the last few years is the public funds for training has been slashed and burned at every turn. so while it is a big talking point that workers need training, there is less money for it. the fact of the matter is there are plenty of workers out there that have all the marketable skills they need. perhaps their job search has been part of the problem that kept them unemployed for so long. so they would propose we also focus on people from the moment they get unemployed and give them high quality reemployment services where they get targeted help with resumes, with job search, with the public job matching function where workforce development professionals will network an employer with an open job with a worker who has those skills. which is the way the employment services used to function.
so that's one of the other things. >> brown: you are thinking of that as an experiment but in the meantime you're pushing for the extension. i mean what should happen as of december 31st. >> as of december 31st we think the program should be reauthorized as it is today. the measures of long-term unemployment have not changed at all since congress reauthorized this program. so we want it to stay the same and make sure that family its have that income support so they can stay attached to the workforce, so they can stay out of poverty and hopefully get back into this system, back into working as quickly as possible. >> brown: i know you want to experiment but are you also for extending. >> you can't go back to 14 weeks. and 26 weeks is probably going to be insufficient. but let's keep in mind that we would extend for humanitarian purposes. the economic evidence is fairly clear that extensions well beyond that 26 weeks adds to the period of time that people are unemployed. there is about a 5% increase in that because the incentive isn't there to get back to work. >> brown: you argued that
before. >> i argue it every time i talk to you. >> brown: yes, that it is a disincentive to find work. >> exactly. and the evidence is coming from alan krueger, he is the counsel of economic advisors. mark zandi, and many other economists, that we have to keep that in mind. that is to the a reason not to extend but a reason to say how far should the extension go. here's what i think. we should extend and the extension should be tied to some creative way of infusing new skills in people without have particularly the 5.5 million who have been out for that 40 weeks. you know, they are he going to have a hard time getting back in. here is my final point on this, maybe not my final point, of-- . >> brown: we will decide. >> the unemployment rate fell this time by 2/10 of a percent. everybody is happy about that. it fell because we lost 350,000 workers out of the labor force. >> but do you buy the disincentive arguments or do you think things have changed in this economy? >> i any it's different.
first of all when you look at those studies it shows a fairly negligentable impact, .4, .5% on unemployment. and a study done by professor rossteen at the university california berkeley last year demonstrated that at least half of that is because unemployment insurance keeps people attached to the job search and attached to the workforce, which we want. 9 heldrich center out of rutgers did a study as well around this time last year showing that workers who are unemployed who are receiving unemployment do more job search activities than those who don't get benefits and are willing to settle for lower paying jobs than those who are not getting benefits. >> brown: a final last word. >> certainly true, in the first few weeks of unemployment. are you out there, injure job skills are refresh, are you used to getting up and getting to, without. the long their goes on, the less you are doing all of those things. and now the structural problem is this. we have a huge body of people who have been out of the labor force so long that their skills are really-- we need to attend to this difference.
so extending unemployment for humanitarian purposes, we probably should do that. but change the system so we have training involved. >> bill beech and judy conti, thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: still to come on the "newshour": the supreme court takes up same sex marriage; shellfish threatened by rising carbon dioxide levels; shields and brooks and history in 140 characters or less. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: washington went into the weekend, still stalemated over how to avoid automatic tax hikes and spending cuts, come january. house speaker john boehner did speak by phone to president obama this week, and it was widely reported the two have agreed to negotiate directly with each other. but boehner said today, "there's no progress to report." >> four days ago, we offered a serious proposal based on testimony of president clinton's former chief of staff. since then there's been no counteroffer from the white house. instead, reports indicate that the president has adopted a
deliberate strategy to slow-walk our economy right to the edge of the fiscal cliff. >> sreenivasan: the president has insisted there will be no deal unless republicans agree to raise tax rates on the top 2%. republicans say the tax hikes would only hurt job creation. but in arlington, virginia, vice president biden said today's jobs report shows the economy is turning a corner, so it's critical to get a deal. >> there is a sense... there is a sense that if we can reach an- - act like adults and reach an agreement here on the fiscal cliff, the upside is much higher even than the downside is if we don't. >> sreenivasan: biden said the president is willing to consider what he called any serious offer. aides for the two sides were expected to continue talking, through the weekend. wall street was mostly higher on the news from november's jobs report. the dow jones industrial average gained 81 points to close at 13,155. the nasdaq was hurt by another sell-off in apple stock, and fell 11 points to close at 2,978. for the week, the dow gained 1%.
the nasdaq lost 1%. this was another tense day across egypt, as a political crisis deepened. tonight, thousands of protesters pushed past army and police outside the presidential palace, demanding that president mohammed morsi leave office. he's assumed absolute powers and refuses to call off a vote on a constitution drafted by islamists. earlier in the day, in cairo's tahrir square, protesters gathered to speak out against morsi. >> ( translated ): we are not fanatics, we are not barbarians, we are devout muslims and devout christians. this is what he has to respect. he did not keep one of his promises whatsoever. we are going down the drain. if the constitutional decree is not revoked we are facing a dead end. >> sreenivasan: later, the government postponed the start of early voting on the constitution. top officials also said morsi might be willing to postpone the referendum if he can reach some agreement with the opposition. on the syrian diplomatic front, secretary of state hillary
clinton said today russia and the u.s. will support new efforts to mediate peace. but clinton underscored that the u.s. still insists that president bashar assad leave power. she spoke today in northern ireland, a day after meeting with russian foreign minister sergei lavrov and the u.n. envoy for syria, lakhdar brahimi. >> we reviewed the very mr. brahimi had his own additional information to contribute about what he is hearing from sources inside syria and both minister lavrov and i committed to support a renewed push by brahimi and his team to work with all the stakeholders in syria to begin a political transition. meanwhile, rebels in syria made the damascus international airport an official battleground. they said it's a legitimate target and they urged civilians to stay clear. fighting near the airport and around the capital city has intensified in the past week.
the latest amateur video showed street battles and a car set afire by a rocket attack. the exiled leader of hamas khaled meshaal entered gaza today for the first time. it was, in part, a show of defiance after the militant group's latest clash with israel. we have a report narrated by jonathan rugman of "independent television news." >> reporter: he crossed the border from egypt with tears in his eyes. the leader of hamas setting foot on palestinian territory for the first time in 37 years. he had never been to gaza in his life but after kissing the tarmac apparently sobbing as he did so khaled meshaal said gaza had always been in his heart. there to greet him were the al qassam brigades. named after an arab rebel leader killed by the british in the 1930s. 80 years on the fight for self- rule isn't over. and thousands turned out to watch meshaal's cavalcade crawl through gaza city just days
after a war with israel which left around 160 palestinians dead. >> the second was when i was recovering from poison. i consider today my third birth, i ask god my fourth birth will be when we liberate all of palestine. >> reporter: it was after the arab israeli war of 1967 that meshaal fled from the occupied west bank. he's only been back there once in jordan in 1997 mossad agents poisoned him. king hussein begged benjamin netanyahu for the antidote. and israel's leader then as now eventually handed it over. meshaal backed a steady stream of suicide bombings which israel's separation wall has largely stopped and the hamas earlier this year, meshaal left his home damascus abandoning the assad regime to its fate. he's also making peace overtures to president abbas, his
palestinian rival in the west bank. >> -- hamas government in gaza. >> and the hamas leader may still be a wanted man. palestinian police have been rehearsing the drill for any assassination attempt. >> is >> sreenivasan: israel and the u.s. consider hamas a terror organization. the israelis had little to say about today's visit. the death toll has passed 500 in the typhoon that smashed into the philippines on tuesday, with more than 400 people still missing. rescuers dug through mud and debris again today, to retrieve bodies in the hardest hit compostela valley region. some 250 people died there. more than 300,000 others lost their homes in the storm. president o
blamea-- obama will ask congress for $50 billion for hurricane sandy. they announced it today in a statement the money is to help rebuild road, tunnels and assist thousands of people forced from their homes. those are those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: the u.s. supreme court announced today that for the first time in its history it would review the contentious issue of same-sex marriage. for more on the story we turn to margaret warner. >> warner: the justices agreed to hear arguments in two cases: one is california's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, adopted by voters as referendum proposition 8. it was challenged on grounds that gay citizens have the same constitutional right to marry as heterosexuals. the justices will also review a provision of the federal "defense of marriage act" or doma that deprives legally married gay couples of federal benefits that are available to heterosexual couples. same-sex marriage is legal or will be soon in nine states and the district of columbia.
but 31 states have amended their constitutions to bar gay unions. here with us to explain today's development, and where it could lead, is marcia coyle of "the national law journal." welcome back, marcia. >> thanks, marg wet. >> warner: so is it fair to say first of all that the court's decision to hear these first two cases in itself a momentous decision? >> absolutely. a number of gay rights organizations, particularly as if relates to the federal defense of marriage act have been working towards that point. and yes, whatever the court says, if it reaches the merits of these cases will be extremely important. >> warner: let's take them one by one, prop 8 in california first. remind us briefly of how what started out as a state issue ended am in the supreme court. >> the california supreme court a number of year its ago ruled that same sex marriages were constitutional under its state constitution. voters disagreed by passing
proposition 8 in 2008 banning those marriages. proposition 8 was challenged by gay and lesbian couples who were represented by former opponents ted olson and david buoyes. it ultimately reached the federal appall at court which found that proposition 8 was unconstitutional because it took away a right once given. and it did that on the basis of anymous towards homosexuals so it was the proponent of proposition 8 the supporter was brought the case to the u.s. supreme court. and they asked the supreme court whether the 14th amendment of the the u.s. constitution prohibits california from defining marriages between a man and a woman. >> warner: and so how sweeping are the issues, then, that the court could rule here or must rule on here. >> the court has a number of options with this particular challenge. the court could simply
affirm the lower federal appellate court which would leave that ruling in place, the proposition 8 was constitutional. it would only affect california it was a narrow ruling it would not affect any other state or states' laws. the court could decide that proposition 8 does violate the federal constitution. that would be the broadest ruling that it could make. and that would possibly, well, if the court said that the 14th amendment does prohibit california from defining marriage as between a man and a woman than other state law was certainly be at risk other than just california. >> warner: so you mean even the 31 states that put in in their state constitution as prop 8 tried to do could be effective potentially if the ruling was sweeping. >> that's right, exactly. so to you let's go to the defense of marriage act case. and this came out of new york. first of all explain how the
defense of marriage act worked and how did this one case involving an 83-year-old woman in edie wind sore-- windsor raise the issue. >> well, the challenge here is to a provision in the defense of marriage act, section 3. and that defines for all federal purposes marriage is between one man and one womanment and by doing that it affects more than a thousand federal laws, everything from tax laws to social security and health and welfare benefits. the defense of marriage act was challenged by edie windsor from new york. she had a partner for over 40 years. they were married in 2007 in canada, a new york recognized their marriage when miss windsor's partner, her spouse died. her spouse left her entire estate to edie windsor. because of the defense of marriage act edie windsor was left with almost a 400,000 dollar federal
estate tax that someone who was the spouse of an opposite sex coup weill not have had to pay. so their defense of marriage act can being challenged as violating the equal protection guarantee in the fifth amendment. >> warner: and how sweeping, if the ruling were in favor of edie windsor, how widely would that apply nationwide? >> well, the challenge here to doma really is that only this provision in doma is unconstitutional as applied to legally married same-sex couples. the argument is that that provision discriminates against them by treating them differently from legally married opposite sex couple its. so if the court found in favor of edie windsor as the lower federal appellate court here did t would not affect any state's law that prohibits same-sex marriage so this is more of a yes or so no question, there aren't
as many options as there are with the california prop 8 case for the court. >> warner: very briefly, the court did also raise so called standing issues in each one is it fair to say if they rule on these standing issue these could be incredibly narrow rulings. >> they could. the standing questions have to do with whether parties including the united states government are properly before the court in these cases. if the court finds that they are not properly before them the court will never even get to the marriage. the cases will be dismissed. >> warner: marcia, thank you so much. >> my pleasure, margaret. >> brown: next, the second in a pair of reports about how vital eco-systems in the oceans are changing as carbon dioxide levels keep rising. earlier this week, hari sreenivasan showed us the impact on coral reefs around florida. tonight, he looks at the fallout to the shell-fish industry in the pacific northwest. he traveled there recently for our series "coping with climate change." we partnered with kcts seattle and their program "earthfix" to
produce this story. >> sreenivasan: pacific oysters like the ones grown on shina wysockis family farm near olympia washington are served in restaurants around the country. >> we think our water tastes great here and that makes our oysters taste great. >> sreenivasan: but there's trouble in the water. the oceans p.h., which measures the level of acidity of a liquid, shows the water is becoming acidified. most growers like the wysockis can only farm oysters if they can buy oyster larvae, also called oyster seed, from hatcheries. but a few years ago, the larvae suddenly began dying by the billions. the culprit-- the seawater pumped into the hatcheries is so corrosive that it eats away the young oyster shells before they can form >> ocean acidification is this huge problem and there are so many things-- it's the currents, it's the carbon dioxide, it's the aragonite. most of which i only understand a tiny fraction of, but what i do understand is when the nursery calls on the phone and
says there's no oyster seed to ship. we don't have any. >> sreenivasan: seed production in the northwest plummeted by as much as 80% between 2005 and 2009. >> what we found was very dramatic. when the water was highly corrosive the organisms died within two days-- the oyster larvae simply died. when the water was high ph they did just fine. it was just like a switch. >> sreenivasan: that switch is happening around the world as oceans take in large amounts of carbon dioxide or co2, says dick feely, a senior scientist at the national oceanographic and atmospheric administration. >> over the last 200 years or so we've released about 2 trillion tons of co2 into the atmosphere and about a quarter of that, or 550 billion tons of co2 have been absorbed by the oceans. >> sreenivasan: all that co2 changes the chemistry of the water by making it more acidic--
30% more than they were at the start of the industrial revolution. because of natural tide and wave patterns the pacific northwest coast has been hit hardest with corrosive water being brought up from the deep ocean to the surface, where shellfish live. that's why washington's shellfish industry worth $270 million a year and responsible for thousands of jobs is the first to feel the effects of this global phenomenon, says bill dewey of taylor shellfish, the largest producer of farmed shellfish in the country. in a single night, taylor's growers will bring in about 50,000 oysters. >> this is the first place these deep, corrosive waters are coming to the surface. we're an industry that relies on calcifiers, so were the first to see the affects and to scream about it. >> sreenivasan: ocean acidification acts a lot like osteoporosis-- the condition that causes bones to become brittle in humans. for oysters, scallops and other shellfish, lower ph means less carbonate which they rely on to
build their essential shells. as acidity increases, shells become thinner, growth slows down and death rates rise. >> with oysters, the vulnerable stage that dissolves in these corrosive waters in the very, very young stage. they're using a form of calcium carbonate to build their shell that dissolves really easily. >> sreenivasan: on the east coast growers are starting to worry that they'll be hit next. new bedford, massachusetts is america's top producing fishing port and sea scallops-- another species vulnerable to acidification-- makes up 77% of their production. >> shell fishing is really a way of life for many of those families and much of that community and taking that away kind of further homogenizes our country. we could see changes in the demographics of the community as working families move away and look for other opportunities. >> sreenivasan: sarah cooley studies the socio-economic impacts of altered oceans at woods hole oceanographic institution in massachusetts. she and other researchers
project acidification could reduce u.s. shellfish harvests by as much as 25% over the next 50 years. >> we'll look back and say oh things used to be like this and i hope that's not the case. i hope we can actually preserve those pockets of individuality in the country that make it so great by finding these regional solutions can help out different regions to preserve their ways of life. >> what we are looking at is probably on the order of tens to hundreds of millions of dollars just related to the shellfish fishery in this country alone because it's probably a $740 million dollar industry. >> sreenivasan: oystermen have been working with scientists to find ways to adapt. hatcheries now monitor seawater and only allow it in when acidity levels are lower. they're also adding sodium carbonate and eelgrass to help balance the p.h. levels. that's helped growers recover nearly 75% of their losses. but dick feeley says that strategy won't work in the
future, when scientific models show corrosive waters will become more pervasive at the sea surface. >> as we continue to release more and more co2 in the atmosphere and that will be taken up by the oceans eventually the oceans will be corrosive 50% of the time or 60% of the time within the next 30- 40 years. this would be a 100% to 150% increase of the acidity of the oceans by the end of the century. this is a very dramatic change that has not been seen in the world's oceans for more than 50 million years. >> for shellfish growers, the future is now. this is a very real problem, and we hope that people pay attention to the canary in the coal mine here. >> sreenivasan: washington state recently convened a panel of policymakers and scientists to develop long term strategies for dealing with the problem. and scientists are still learning more about how the impacts of acidification will
ripple through the entire food web of the ocean. but oystermen already know this is just the beginning of a long term struggle. >> brown: you can watch all the "coping with climate change" reports on our website. >> woodruff: and to the analysis of shields and brooks, that's syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. welcome, gentlemen. >> judy. >> woodruff: so we got in the habit of talking about the unemployment numbers at the start of every month. so mark today, we passed the campaign but let's not break the habitment the report comes out, more jobs created than expected. the rate went down. what does it is a about the economy. >> it's always better than expected. when a candidate finishes fifth, new hampshire primary t is better than expected. judy, the numbers were better than expected, it's not good news for the
economy. we have lower rate, 7.7% for the worse possible reason, not that more jobs were created but quite frankly, americans are discouraged and there are fewer people looking for work. and then we find out that the jobs created in september and october were not what we hoped for. jack welch's revenge, president of general electric went through the whole thing of being rigged, a bad joke. but i mean no, it's to the good numbers. construction numbers, employment was down, so was manufacturing. i just don't think in spite of better than expected, not good. >> do you see a silver lining? >> no, i too fixated on the labor force participation rate, which 350,000 fewer people in the labor force. and i think if you step back and look at the recession, the collapse in labor force participation is astounding and especially male labor
force participation, whether you are up here, and over a decade it's just collapsed. i think it's down around the 60s. and so that's just historically very troubling news, a lot of people retiring early, a lot of people trying to get on disable. a lot of people not enter will. so there are a lot of men in particular, but women too, in their 50s and 60s an they're out of the labor force and that's just bad for them and bad for the economy. >> every month during the came pame we talked about whether this was good or bad for the president or mitt romney. what about right now, mark, with what the president is trying to do, 9 fiscal cliff, other issues s this a factor? >> i think it's probably a disincentive about not reaching a deal. i mean i think this adds a little sense of urgency of the economy is precarious. and therefore we don't need to test it by putting it in a further stress test of not having some sort of resolution of the current dilemma. >> what about the fiscal
live? i mean where does everything stand? we had speaker boehner come out today and say no progress. >> yeah, i think that was just the public show. i think there has been progress. not substantive progress but atmosphere progress. i think the republican party, i think the house republicans have rallied around speaker boehner. the ones troublesome for him a year and a half ago have essentially said you cut the deal, we'll go along with you. you have our support. so that is a big gift of flexibility to boehner. and i think it's an acceptance of the reality that rates will have to go up at least a little. >> as for the president, we done know much. but my sense is that they know the issues, they have been through this before. that the atmosphere is their right and now it's a question of their skill at negotiators. because there are delicate balance here. the republicans want to give, probably a little on the tax rate. the president has to sort of lure them over and say okay, we'll give new on entitlements. and you have to do this little dance here.
and do it gently. and with a little gift, a little carrot, a little stick and if they can do it confidently i think there is a pretty good chance just atmospherically that we will get a fiscal deal before we go on. >> you see the dance. >> i don't see it quite the same way david does. i think the republicans are facing reality. everything is going against them. it wasn't simply the election return, re-election of the president. but today the associated press poll came out, job ratings at 57%, the president. other than the blip that he got after the navy seals operation against osama bin laden, that is the highest in three and a half years. the republican brand as a party remains an albatross around people's necks and the republicans have seen throughout this debate as people who are apparently willing to raise taxes on 98% of americans in order to shelter the 2% for paying any more. and i just think that argument and the dynamics politically against them
there is a sense of inevitability that the rates are going to go. i agree with david on the necessary door-- necessity of a delicate touchlt i don't think john boehner has control over his caucus right now. i'm not sure he can sell a tax increase, even if it does involve entitlement taming of the spending of future spending on entitlements. i think he's in a tough bind. i think they have the goodwill but i'm not sure the votes. >> woodruff: you're saying the president in your mind clearly has the upper hand. >> the upper advantage and upper hand. and the question is, i mean is he going to be sensitive to boehner, that bayne kerr come out of it with his dignity and self-respect and reputation intact? i mean this is what you do, judy. john lindsey was the mayor of new york. he is a marvelous public figure in many respects. he had three separate negotiations in which he
basically tried to negotiate with the teachers, the subway workers. he gave them what they wanted and they ended up hating him because he somehow just didn't have that ability to honor his add certificate sear. i think this is a test for the president and the administration on how they handle it. that john bayne kerr come out of it not a diminished figure. but he's holding all the cards right now, barack obama. >> woodruff: you see the president having as many cards as mark? >> i think the president clearly has the upper hand. i think if we do go off the cliff and recession, i think the fiscal cliff is completely unpredic unpredict-- predictable, especially with a fragile economy, the wall street and the corporate economists are deeply scared about it. that recession really would, you know, wreck his term because we would be obsessed with that for the next couple of years. and so i don't think it's a total walk for him but he clearly has the upper hand.
and then there is just the sheer fact of the numbers. say they reach a compromise. i think the republicans are likely to cave on the rate and you close a few deductions. >> do you think they will. >> i do. >> because they are saying they are not going to cave. >> there is going to be no deal on that. they are to the going to go into january, as mark said, and say to the country, hey, we're going to raise your taxes but we have to serve the rich people. they're just not going to do that with the polls, so they're going to cave. they will not get up to 39% but they could get to 37. so say you get to 1.2 trillion in revenue. you still need spending cuts so the president, i think, and the boehner, they know what the options are. there is social security what they call the cola, how fast social security benefits go up. raise the medicare eligibility age which is not so great. medicare plan b, raising the cost of the premium there. there are lots of options on the taebl and to get something that matches the 1.2 billion or trillion in new revenue, you got to have
some real cuts, that is something he can offer boehner. >> woodruff: you touched on it, what about this conservative chorus now in the house who are saying that boehner has already given up by just even being willing to raise revenues. i mean and some of them are saying we're not sure we're going to vote for him for re-election. how much, does he really have serious pressure from the right or not? >> will with, i mean the problem he has is there's 18 of them. he threw four people off this week, three of them for not being sufficiently supportive of the caucus position, being to the right of the caucus. and so he starts off by making four enemies, basically,-- he's made enknee-- enemies. if 18 of them decided not to show up and vote for john boehner on the 3rd of january it would not be-- he would not be the speaker. i don't think that's going to happenment but he's in a position where he's got to-- he's got to be able to come back to his people and
say yes, we're going have to vote for these increases. we can't be the party of billionaires and millionaires even though we raised everybody else's tax. these are the cuts we got. i think it's easier to make people who are better off pay more under medicare than to cut benefits. >> part of the deal is the democrats are going to have to promise the 100 votes for the thing in the house. so you can get-- the republicans are going to say a hundred republicans or some large number of republicans are going to be danger in the primary, are you vulnerable, you can vote against it they have to give a lot of republicans permission to vote against this thing. but they can still do that. >> woodruff: one of the voices criticizing boehner was jim demint, the senator from south carolina who surprised everybody and announced yesterday that he is stepping down from the senate. what does that say about him b conservatives in the congress? what does it is a about the senate. >> it says a couple things. one, he gets a nice payday
now, will make some decent money and he's not a rich guy. to the by senatorial 12ds anyway. second i think it says he's not a legislator. he is good at filibustering, blocking things in the snachlt he has never been somebody crafting complicate -- legislation, cutting deals. he's not involved in that. and i think finally, i think is the big story, like a lot of people in the tea party he likes the purity, he likes the bold stroke. he doesn't like the messy-- messiness in politics n my few people like that tend to marginalize themselves. they tend to go off to a place they can be pure but as a result of that going off to where they can be pure, they make themselves more marginal. i think that is what demint is doing and a lot of people in the tea party would say i would rather be pure and in 9 fight and will go off to where they can be pure. >> there is a lot of money there. i don't mean for him personally there is a lot of money on the right. we saw dick armey former house majority leader left the freedom works which is a group associated closely with the tea party work out
with an $8 million buyout. you know, you don't get that for goodness sake it's in wall street today. >> i think are you wrong about that one. >> okay, david knows. >> stay with the expert. >> david knows these people. but i just say, he's going to make a million dollars. >> woodruff: you mean in salary at the heritage. >> at least i million dollars. but i think the key is, judy, that it changes the whole definition of what a senator is the two senators who preceded him in south carolina served a century between them, strom thurmond and holdings. here he is in the middle of his second term. he is not a legislator. he isn't interesting in crafting a compromise or consensus of any sort. he's been very open about what he does believe and what does matter to him. and out he's going to be a basically a political figure with a platform and a good paycheck outside. and can be pure. he doesn't have to worry about the rest of the caucus. he leaves with his legacy, marco rub who who he
supported earlier, pat toomey who-- but he also leaves, you know, democratic senators re-elected in nevada and missouri and delaware as a consequence of his supporting unelectable primary republicans. >> woodruff: we have only 20 second but one of the moves in the senate among these conservatives was to deny the u.n. treaty on the rights of persons with disabilities. how does something like that happen. >> it's an embarrassment for the country. this was a troty that could have given afghan vets who have lost limbs greater ability to go abroad and live with dignity. and to do it for black helicopter reasons to vote against it is an embarrassment. >> -- it really was-- republicans who are terrified of a primary, of a challenge on their right, so they come up with this bogus explanation, or theory about blue helmeted u.n. soldiers coming in to home schooling parents and ripping their child away, having
disembarked from the black helicopter t say total fabrication and to do it as bob dole sat there on the senate floor asking for their support is a travesty. >> woodruff: gentlemen, thank you both. mark shields, david brooks. and mark and david will keep up the talk on the doubleheader recorded in our newsroom and that will be posted at the top of the rundown later tonight. >> brown: finally tonight, doling out history lessons on twitter. gwen ifill has that. >> ifill: newshour regular michael beschloss has written eight books and count its commentaries on the american presidenciment but recently he's discovered a new way to engage a different audience. taking us back to the nation's contemporary history in 140 characters or less. michael joins us now. michael, what is with the 140 character chunks, when did you start dolling out history this way. >> it is an antidote to the
wrong looks i write. it was actually during one of the debates right here in the studio we were watching, as you remember. and christina arc, countries tina saw me looking at a search engine with twitter comments. and she said why don't you just go on twitter yourself. i said essentially i hadn't thought of that, why don't i try ooirz so as you started to post things you found along the way, before we show some of them, how do you come across these things you find that you have been putting up sm. >> well, i'm not only generally interested in presidential history but for years i've been fascinated on what images can evoke. you can see one picture, it asks a lot of questions. and i hope gets people curious about other larger issues that relate to it. >> ifill: let's show the viewers what we are talking about. this first picture i want to show shows in the foreground the very familiar lyndon johnson. >> that not his third finger up there. >> ifill: that is his index figure never the air as you see hine him, that is john f ken dee, they were not close but there he is reaching over to grab him.
what is going on here and when was this taken? >> that was taken before the election of 1960. but you look at it and it looks like sort of an icon of the 1960s. johnson aggressively getting into the vietnam war and kennedy sort of trying to restrain him that is why that picture particularly touches a nerve. what actually happened was a couple days before the election kennedy came to amarillo for a rally with johnson. kennedy began speaking t was at the airport, and republican pilots began turning on their jet engines to drown out kennedy. johnson was furious, so you can see him going turn those engines off, you know, that is exactly what is going on. >> ifill: this is 1960 before they were even serving together. >> absolutely. >> ifill: so perhaps they were even friendlier at the time. i'm curious what people thought when they saw it but the next picture i was fascinated by. there is richard nixon. and someone appears to be pouring a beer over his head. >> yeah, i put this out without telling what it was. i said what do you think it is. and one person wrote it's nixon celebrating his pardon by gerald ford.
1974. it wasn't. this is nixon actually at the angels stadium 1979, angels won the division title. bobby rich, the second baseman came over and poured champagne on nixon's head. and it is novel-- novel because that not exactly a scene that you normally see with nixon. some of the others wrote in and said is this just dick nixon partying hard. >> ifill: but what is interesting is it goes completely against what we think of when we see even if we think of him partying hard it is not quite that way. >> again hype, and that an image like that is so arresting. and you get not micro-- nixon was delighted to have this done because five years after watergate he was trying to pull himself back. he was enough of a politician to know that a picture in the newspaper of him celebrating that victory with the campaign on his head was worth an awful lot. >> ifill: i believe that was beer, i don't know if they make champagne in cans. >> this was the picture that first caught my attention of
your tweeting as i was going through my time line. it very puzzling. there is bill clinton clearly on the left and in the center is george h.w. bush. and next to him he is shaking hands with george wallace, the famous segregational governor 6 alaska. i couldn't-- i turned it upside down trying to figure out where could this have happened where these three men were together. >> it is sort of like kennedy and johnson. a lot of people said is this photo shopped it couldn't be possible that this picture exist. a lot of the people who twoted about this said this must have been photo shopped too. because first george wallace is a figure out of the '60s and clinton bush '80s and 90s. plus 1 of the worse segregationists in american history so why would clinton and bush be at a picnic with him eating lobster. the other thing is they didn't really sort of see it in terms of bush an clinton being at a picnic years before they ran against each other why would they have been so friendly. plus bill clinton looks as if he is about 12 years old.
>> ifill: plus bill clinton later went on to defeat george h.w. bush and their famous relationship came around, now they refer to each other as father and son. >> now they are very friendly. but at the time of this image george h.w. bush was vice president, gave a picnic for american governors. clinton was a governor, george wallace was too and by then wallace recanted and apologized for a lot of his segregationist positions. >> ifill: this is maine, kennebunkport. >> and wallace is drink mountain dew. >> ifill: another thing we are looking at. there is a blond woman next to george wallace. >> 1983 with his third wife, this was lisa during the '68 wallace campaign. there were two singers, one was mona, one was lisa so he finally married her. >> ifill: and the famous wife we knew about was by that time dead. >> indeed. she had succeed wallace as governor, a one term limit or four year limb south that wallace could continue to try to pull the stringsment and she died in the middle
of her term. >> ifill: fascinating. as you look back and come across these images and come across some audio occasionally that you post and other things, do you get-- take any heart at all from the kind of reactions you are getting from people who suddenly discovered this through you on twitter? >> i love it because what i'm trying to do is get people interested in history and get them to think about some of the larger issues. an these picture does this and the other thing is you and i have talked about this. we're living this an age in which imagery and presidential politics has become all the more important. so people have become pretty good at deciphering what they are seeing in a picture and often times there is a lot of meeting packed in there. and i hear from if, from people about this on twitter. >> are you spending all of your days now strolling for the next interesting thing to get a reaction? >> i am not spending all my days. on my book publisher, please no. but it is an interesting sideline and since i'm not likely to write a book about political pictures that is interesting for me to do. >> michael beschloss, thanks
for opening that window for us. >> my pleasure, gwen. >> brown: and online, history buffs are tweeting on behalf of george washington, paul revere and other historical figures. read about it on the rundown. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: the economy added more jobs than expected in november, and the unemployment rate dropped to a four year low. washington went into the weekend, still stalemated over how to avoid automatic tax hikes and spending cuts, come january. and the u.s. supreme court announced that for the first time in its history, it will take up the issue of same-sex marriage. online we say farewell to an intrepid, eight-legged space explorer. hari sreenivasan tells us more. >> sreenivasan: nefertiti the spider-naut traveled aboard a japanese space flight for three months as part of an experiment designed by an egyptian high school student. she returned safely and lived out the remainder of her days at the smithsonian, where she died
this week. read the whole story at lunch in the lab. and on art beat, jeffrey brown talks to new yorker film critic david denby about big films this holiday season, plus the subject of his latest book, "do the movies have a future?" and on tonight's need to know, a fight over family planning in texas. check your local pbs listings. all that and more is on our web site newshour.pbs.org. judy? >> woodruff: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on monday, paul solman looks at tax deductions at risk as the white house and congressional republicans struggle to avert the fiscal cliff. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you online and again here monday evening. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪
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